TBT: What We Learned at Michelle Obama



It’s been one month to the day that we were graced by the presence of Michelle Obama. On the day that the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade announced that they would be hosting a conversation with Mrs. Obama, gasps could be heard from every corner of our female-led offices. How we could get tickets was researched within 20 seconds (19 of those spent taking deep breaths). Available to Board of Trade members only. Have we renewed our membership? Gulp. Ticket prices? Double gulp.

One thing was for certain, we had to be there.

Within the week we had confirmed our Board of Trade membership (more than once) and by a miracle were among the lucky ones that scored tickets in the 30 seconds before they sold out.

To say the evening was special would be putting it lightly. The grace and confidence that, our girl, Michelle exuded was admirable. Her words, even more so. Her presence was that of a superstar combined with your favourite girlfriend to have a happy hour beer with. She spoke to the crowd like we were her equals. She stunned us with facts such as: at the average rate we’re going, our youngest generation will be in their 70’s by the time we reach true gender equality. She joked about her White House vegetable garden being taken lightly by some at first but little did they know she was planting a seed for a far greater movement. She emphasized that, in a year that has been revolutionary for women, we need to advocate for our daughters outside of our own dinner tables, social circles and safe spaces. We need to take risks and speak up in situations where advocacy might be challenged or unwelcomed to, truly, impact change.

We were convinced that the hour was actually 15 minutes. It flew. After the event we went to dinner and dissected what she spoke about. We wished we could play it back and listen to it all over again. We marveled at the way she would casually mention “Barack”. It was surreal that we would be in the presence of someone simply calling him by his first name. We left feeling empowered, optimistic and grateful.

Looking forward, it is even more engrained in us that we all have something to contribute from a community perspective. We love this article that was published in partnership with Refinery29 for International Women’s Day. It emphasizes what we truly believe: that it begins with empowering and educating our girls.